The Racers have finally fallen. Which means it’s on to other business.
Don’t get me wrong, the Racers are still a story. They’re the first at-large threat the conference has had since…let’s just saw awhile, and they lost to a good Tennessee State team after 23 consecutive wins. They’re still leading the conference, and still, in my opinion, the best team in the OVC.
But they’re just not the story anymore. It’s not so intriguing that it pushes most other storylines to the peripheral.
So, here are 5 other storylines to start paying attention to, now that we’ve all got that undefeated monkey off our backs.
Did Mike Miller save his job last night?: In a word, no. I went over this in depth in yesterday’s First Word, but then Mike Miller went and won big on the road. Will it have an impact? I don’t think so. If he’s going to return next year, he would return with or without this win. If he’s going to get fired after this year, one win isn’t going to change that. I think whatever his fate is, is likely already sealed, baring some kind of miracle, or travesty, depending.
What is wrong with Tennessee Tech?: Something has to be. This is a team that has the talent to beat anybody. They have the talent to have the first 50-point scorer this season in Kevin Murphy. Zac Swansey is a great point guard. Jud Dillard is one of the most consistent scorers in the league. And at home they’ve now lost to Jacksonville State and Eastern Illinois, and lost to SIU Edwardsville on the road. Good thing they don’t play UT Martin again, or they just might give the Skyhawks their first win. You know this team has the talent to win every game, yet they’re just 8-5 in the OVC. They haven’t won 4-straight yet this year. If the Golden Eagles somehow fall out of the 4th seed (3 teams are just one game behind in the loss column) does this team have any chance of winning 4 games in 4 days? I doubt it.
Tennessee State is good this year. Look at their roster. Can they build on this? (Or do they become next year’s Tennessee Tech?): Only 2 seniors from this year’s team graduate, and both are not are in the top-4 in scoring for the Tigers. This is a team that looked a year away a month ago, but now seem to have arrived ahead of schedule. They’re still going to need another big upset in March to make it to the NCAA tournament this year, but this team looks to have the talent returning to be an even tougher win next year. John Cooper has done an amazing job with this team, and looks like a coach on the rise…that might not be at Tennessee State much longer.
Are the Skyhawks destined for 0-16?: It’s hard to imagine otherwise. They’re getting outscored on average by 14 points a game. They do host Eastern Illinois on Saturday, and if the Panthers have a let down game, they might have a solid chance at a win. Of course the same Panthers team that just shut down Tennessee Tech show up, then who knows. They also travel to Jacksonville State at the end of the year, after hosting Austin Peay. Speaking of the Governors…
Have the Governors quit on Loos? (And is Loos about to quit?): Belmont is a good team, maybe even on par with the Racers. They are not 39 points better than Austin Peay, even at home. The Govs has lost 3 straight, against good teams, but weren’t competitive in 2 of those games, and I can’t remember the last time Austin Peay’s defense showed up. There’s a lot of rumblings that Loos will step aside at the end of this year, and just be the school’s Athletic Director (how he’s managed to do both all these years is amazing to me) and possibly allow former UT Martin head coach Bret Campbell, who has been an assistant at Peay for 2 seasons now, to take over the team. Only Loos (and maybe Campbell) knows what his future holds. (Loos has more than enough clout built up to survive multiple season like this without getting fired)
[No Games Today]
[Last Night’s Games]
Horrible, horrible end game management dooms Racers after losing double-digit 2nd half lead.
0-16, here they come?
What. The. Hell.